Date: Sunday 14th January, 3am (UK)
Location: St. Louis, Missouri
Venue: Scottrade Center
This fight has finally been scheduled for Fight Night 124 after previous attempts were scuppered due to visa issues for the Norwegian Emil Meeks. Thankfully, they have been resolved but nobody is more thankful than Kamaru Usman who has been loudly voicing his eagerness for a worthy opponent.
The welterweight division has rapidly grown as thick as Usman’s back, stacked full of special fighters gunning Tyron Woodley’s belt. Usman has cruised his way to 10 straight wins and still isn’t ranked in the top 10, illustrating the talent-rich division.
The 2016 Nordic Fighter of the Year is more than worthy of sharing the cage with Usman and has all the skills to compete with the best. His last two fights include a vicious knockout finish over Rousimar Palhares to claim the Venator welterweight title and a decision win over Jordan Mein for his UFC debut.
However, this win was over a year ago and he will need to shake off any ring rust before taking on his fellow powerhouse. This will be Meek’s toughest test to date as Usman’s confidence is at an all-time high and has been dominating opponents with elite-level wrestling but has also showed off his improved striking - putting Sergio Moraes to sleep in his last outing.
Meek is a natural finisher and will seek the chin of Usman but the crucial factor in gaining the upper hand may well turn out to be Usman’s grappling which he’ll utilize to control the fight at a close distance.
Striking and grappling stats sourced via FightMetric.